The State of Palestine firmly rejects Israel’s cynical attempts at the politicization of the United Nations Palestine refugee agency, UNRWA, and its concerted efforts to incite against its mandate, today said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates.
“This Agency, created by the General Assembly [by resolution 302 (IV) in 1949] seventy years ago, is at its core a humanitarian. It was established to address the just plight of a people who were systematically and brutally ethnically cleansed from their homeland, dispossessed, dispersed in exile and denied the right to return to their homes and lands in contravention of international law. Since its establishment, UNRWA has played a pivotal role in providing Palestine refugees with essential assistance, enabling them to lead productive lives, aiding them in times of emergency, and ensuring a measure of stability through waves of conflicts and crises in the region,” it said.
“Palestine rejects the distorted and malicious Israeli narrative targeting the Agency and those who serve in it. This incitement aims to abrogate the Palestine refugees’ rights and plunge them into further misery and destabilization,” added the statement.
“Instead of allowing Israel to exploit challenges confronting UNRWA to call for its demise, international focus should be on the situation of Palestine refugees and ways to ensure their protection, including in occupied East Jerusalem, where the agency’s operations are under serious and immediate threat,” said the Foreign Ministry.
“The State of Palestine takes note of the conclusion of the investigation and underscores the fact that no fraud, corruption or misuse of funds was found and that the alleged misconduct did not impair UNRWA operations. Despite a very complex, unstable environment and severe financial constraints, UNRWA operations continued uninterrupted, delivering humanitarian and development assistance to the refugees in all five fields of operation in the same efficient and exemplary manner repeatedly attested to, including most recently by the June 2019 MOPAN assessment.”
The statement reaffirmed the State of Palestine’s sincere appreciation to outgoing UNRWA commissioner general, Pierre Krähenbühl, who resigned last week, “for his genuine commitment to UNRWA and Palestine refugees, his tireless and effective resource mobilization, and his principled advocacy for the rights, dignity and humanitarian needs of the refugees throughout his years of service. He led the Agency with courage and determination in the most difficult of circumstances.”
It concluded: “While Palestine regrets recent events, we are satisfied that administrative issues are being addressed. In this regard, the State of Palestine reiterates the need to immediately cease and desist from all efforts aimed at weaponizing these events to undermine UNRWA’s humanitarian mission. We urge that attention be refocused on renewing UNRWA’s mandate and securing more sustained, predictable and sufficient funding to enable the agency to meet refugee needs, pending the achievement of a just solution for the Palestine refugees, which is unquestionably a central component of a just solution for the Question of Palestine.”